I am an ordinary farmer from the south of Gauteng, in a region called Bloemkomspruit. I live with my wife Elmari, we have no children due to cancer earlier on in our marriage.
In November 2013, during sowing season, I had a cold and promised my wife that I would go to the doctor once we had finished sowing. During the sowing, I was exposed to insecticide, and with the combination of the flu, it resulted in my immune system shutting down. My heart was attacked by a virus called Staphylococcus Aureus, which made my heart enlarge, and I ended up with cardiomyopathy.
I went from an active 45 year old farmer, to a bedridden old man in the span of two weeks. All the prognoses I received from the doctors and surgeons were bad, suggesting that I needed to put my name down for the heart transplant list. My heart was weak, a normal heart must have a fraction of 50% with each heart chamber, and mine was only at 15%.
In early 2014, we went to see Dr. Stanley, and he suggested I must get a CFG pacemaker. He said that sometimes, if the heart got bad, very fast, a pacemaker could get the heart to repair itself, but it only happened seldom. For the first time, Elmari and I received reasonably good news, which I was excited about. This excitement only lasted until I received the news that our medical aid, Fedhealth, were only prepared to pay R20 000 of the R180 000 needed for the device. We were devastated, we could not afford to pay it ourselves, for farming is tough in our country. I was not ready for a heart transplant, I was too young, and the odds of the transplant were not good. In 20% of cases, the body rejects the hearts, and there are no second chances.